14 August 2016

The following vignette from Texas, may, we suggest just encourage the states to develop the medical marijuana programs quicker and with more distance from federal controls

The San Antonio Current reports the following , announced within 24 hours of the DEA press release midweek

State Senator José Menéndez, author of Texas’ first medical marijuana law that regulates the use of CBD oil to treat intractable epilepsy, disagrees. “For years, I’ve heard veterans share horror stories of psychotropic drugs being over prescribed to treat PTSD and TBI (traumatic brain injury). They want to treat their trauma with safe medical cannabis,” Menéndez says in a statement Thursday. “I don’t know how the DEA can look a cancer patient in the eye and say you don’t deserve cannabis to ease the chemotherapy and reduce your nausea.”

Menéndez plans to try and expand medical marijuana to more patients in 2017 when the Texas Legislature gets back to work. This time around, Texas already has a medical-marijuana framework to build off of, albeit a weak one. There’s Texas’ CBD oil bill, which only allows the use of CBD oil with low concentrations of THC for people with intractable epilepsy. Critics of the bill say it should be expanded to include patients with other conditions and that the low concentrations of THC that are allowed in the CBD oil should be increased. 

Then there’s also Senate Bill 339, which Menéndez tried to get approved in 2015. This would have brought comprehensive medical marijuana regulations to the state. It would have allowed the Department of State Health Services to establish a system to license and regulate growers, processors and dispensaries. The proposal also would have let people with cancer, seizure, PTSD and other debilitating conditions use medical marijuana as long as their doctor recommended it, but it never even made its way to a committee hearing.

While seemingly innocuous, the word “recommendation” is incredibly important when writing these bills. One of the key problems with the CBD oil law is it requires doctors to prescribe, not recommend. It’s against federal law for doctors to prescribe anything with THC in it. They could lose their ability to practice and be charged with a crime. However, in states with established medical marijuana systems, doctors recommend it instead of prescribing it because a doctor’s recommendation is protected by the First Amendment.